BERLIN – Repair work on some of the town of Berlin’s most deteriorated sidewalks will begin no later than next week, town staff announced Monday night.
Parts of the sidewalks along Pitt, Jefferson and Washington streets are slated for improvement.
“It’s not all contiguous. We picked the worst streets in town,” said Berlin Public Works Director Mike Gibbons.
The public works director recently surveyed downtown sidewalks with Mayor Gee Williams, looking for trouble spots.
“It literally took us almost two hours to walk it,” said Williams.
Some problem areas drop an inch or two without warning. Some sections of sidewalk are raised, probably from a tree root growing underneath.
“It’s a tremendous tripping hazard,” said Williams.
The intersection of Washington and South Main streets shows a pronounced problem, most likely from stormwater run off over the years.
“There’s a section there that’s just crumbling into stone,” said Williams.
Other parts of town have fine sidewalks, where walkways exist. However, some sections just stop, the mayor said, and give way to grass, only to pick up again further down the street.
“Why these spots have never been filled in I have no idea. It’s nuts,” said Williams.
Work will begin no later than Monday, weather permitting, said Gibbons.
Contractor Gilbert Foreman will replace roughly 4,000 square feet of deteriorated sidewalk, at a cost of $23,500.
“There will be many folks very happy to see this one,” Williams said.
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), which is responsible for sidewalks along state roads, recently completed some sidewalk work in town, including at the corner of North Main Street and Old Ocean City Blvd. and the intersection of Main and West streets. Now SHA is just waiting on a waiver of standards to reconstruct some handicapped access ramps.
Gibbons said he did not have any information on leftover SHA sidewalk funds and where they might be used.
During the discussion, Councilwoman Lisa Hall asked town police to monitor skateboarders on town sidewalks. Hall said she has seen many children using skateboards on Berlin’s walkways, which can do a lot of damage to the town’s infrastructure over time.
“We’re spending a lot of money on those sidewalks,” Hall said. “Look out for the skateboarders and protect our investment.”